Music

CLASSICAL, JAZZ, & avant

NON GRATA

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Smeared across a rumpled Citibank credit card application, my hastily scrawled notes from Non Grata's latest show at the Blue Moon record glimpses of a rowdy, raucous performance by this out-jazz big band: "Powerhouse drummer M[ark] Ostrowski clapping two pot lids like those grinning toy monkeys." "Cued sections of the full band give way to rowdy freakouts--apt to inspire bouts of spontaneous t'ai chi or maniacal yelling..." And my favorite, crammed between Citibank's promise of no annual fee and 0% APR, "tatterdemalion swells of sound--Non Grata."

Non Grata is the core ensemble of the Monktail Creative Music Concern, a Seattle-based collective of musicians who blossomed here in the late 1990s as unruly makers of improvised music. More a protoplasmic sonic organism than a true "big band," Non Grata's wall of trumpets, saxophones, guitars, clarinets, basses, voices, and percussion combines rehearsed sections--any of which can be freely (re)arranged in live performance--with a mutant mix of free-ranging solos and massed, slashing forays into Dixieland, reggae, funk, country, and punk.

Live, Non Grata is ferocious and fun. My notes got jumbled as the evening continued, but sometime after a flurry of racetrack fanfares and a goofy satire of "Pop Goes the Weasel," Non Grata's frontline shambled through the audience and detoured next door into the Rainbow Tavern to honk along with Phat Sidy Smokehouse. Near the end of the night, as Non Grata wailed on, someone dumped leftover beer on the floor and started dancing, skidding, and smearing that precious elixir across the concrete floor into a crazed calligraphy. Only at the Blue Moon. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI

Non Grata performs Fri July 30 (Blue Moon Tavern, 712 NE 45th St, 545-8190), 9 pm, free.

chris@delaurenti.net

 

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